Arabian Peninsula/Persian Gulf D+14 (23 July, 1987) Part III

1145– The eastern prong of the Iraqi advance south is halted by US Marines outside of Khafji. Casualties are heavy for the attacking force and the surviving Iraqi troops and equipment start pulling back towards the border with elements of 1/7 Marines in pursuit. Reconnaissance flights, and reports from USMC Force Recon teams on the ground in Kuwait report no signs of additional Iraqi forces preparing to cross into Saudi Arabia.

1300– Multiple attempts by the Soviet ambassador to contact the Iraqi foreign minister for updates on the fighting in Kuwait are ignored.

1450– Iraq’s western advance into Saudi Arabia has come to an end. After the Saudis were earlier in the day, a strong counterattack by 2/7 Marines enveloped and stopped the Iraqi force’s drive before it reached Hafar Al-Batin. Now the Iraqi battalions are scattered around the desert, out of communications with neighboring units and higher headquarters, and facing the possibility of encirclement.

1625– In Baghdad, Saddam Hussein is becoming more concerned with the growing activity on the border with Iran. With the bulk of Iraq’s elite Republican Guard divisions now tied down in Kuwait an Iranian offensive towards Basra and beyond could be successful. As the minutes go by, Iraq’s advance into Saudi Arabia is becoming less and less consequential when compared to the increasingly strained situation on the eastern border.

1754– With permission from his division commander, the colonel in command of the Soviet 328th Guards Airborne Regiment in Dhahran contacts his American counterpart and requests a ceasefire. The two colonels soon meet in a hangar at the Dhahran airbase for discussions. A ceasefire is agreed upon and will take effect at 2000 hours. Further negotiations concerning a more solid cessation of hostilities continue.

1930– 2/7 Marines reports over 600 Iraqi troops have surrendered en masse in the last twenty minutes.

2000– Ceasefire begins in Dhahran.

2300– A final agreement is reached. The 328th Guards will surrender unconditionally to the 82nd Airborne Division at 0015 Hours local time on D+15.

15 Replies to “Arabian Peninsula/Persian Gulf D+14 (23 July, 1987) Part III”

  1. Depends on how the cookie crumbles in the USSR. A debacle on this scale – an entire abn. division surrendering – isn’t a crack in the Soviet system, it’s a gaping, Marianas Trench sized fissure. This will lead to a tectonic shift in the power base in the USSR (well really the “we did all this for nothing” outcome of the war will), and if liberal forces gain control of the politburo, it’s entirely possible that the commander of the 328th may be viewed in a far better light: he’s saving the sons of the USSR instead of throwing them away when the apparatchiks in the Ministry of Defense abandoned him.

    Overall I can’t foresee the end of the war leading to a status quo ante bellum situation inside the USSR.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I can’t either, Bill. All we have to do is look at real life and see how the USSR collapsed. The post-war period will be interesting in Russia provided everyone hasn’t been irradiated or atomized 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I do think the post war will be a fascinating what if study…

        I do not think there will be irradiated ppl or atomized folks because of previously stated reasons. Much like our own system, there is a pretty good check on their use though given the political system, the strength of adherence to that check process may be flawed.

        May be…. because there are those in the politburo who know slinging nuclear fire will cost the Rodina dearly… And no one remotely sane wants that. The Soviets knew their disparity with our readiness. Even back then…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hmm, you know, another interesting question is: will they inter the Soviets in situ, or will they fly them to the US? I mean realistically the war is going to be over in a few days, a week on the outside, and presuming it doesn’t go nuclear, the IRC will want to get those boys back home. On the one hand the logistical effort of moving what, 6000-7000 hostile POWs out of the desert and back to the US would be quite an effort (you can get what, 150-200 at max on a C5), but on the other, a significant number of the 82nd would be tied down keeping them under guard…of course you could potentially leave that to the Saudi National Guard but honestly I wouldn’t trust them to guard a bucket of sand. They’re all either cowards, or they’d abuse the shit out of the Soviet prisoners.

    Decisions, decisions.

    I guess the US could fly in an MP brigade to watch them if they leave them in theater?

    I’m not sure of the exact protocol but doesn’t the Geneva Convention state that prisoners of war can be kept in a similar climate to where they were captured?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. CENTCOM might just hold them in Saudi Arabia. I believe a few articles in the Geneva Convention cover the subject of prisoners and dangerous climates. Might be worth a look

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It also makes me wonder how US POWs have been treated by Pact forces. I’m (grimly) reminded of a scene in Hackett’s “The Third World War, The Untold Story” where a group of Soviet officers are looking over captured/abandoned US vehicles, along with some prisoners. One of them asks what “those markings” on the side of an M113 are (referring to a red cross on a white circle) and they question one of the US prisoners, and he says it’s a medical vehicle, an unarmed transport; the ranking officer tells his fellows this is preposterous, if such vehicle markings were used they would have been told.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Holding areas for POWs there.

      The TCN Worker camps. Lemme explain….

      While I was there loading ships at the end of Desert Storm, we were kept on these glorified summer camp like places out near Al-Jubail. They were walled in, limited access and had extensive accommodations for long term stay. Far enough from the port and others to be isolated but not so far that it was an obnoxious long ride. (I wanna say twenty minutes to the marshalling yards)

      In theory, they could be used to hold the captured VDV. Mind you, they were not very high security…. but they were in the middle of no-where. And realistically, easy enough to secure/guard.

      Detainees in the camp, your guards manning the outside and with Night Vision…. though those camps were well lit at time. Being wartime, I doubt they would be brightly lit but until repatriation? They would absolutely work…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The VDV POWs are the remains of a Regiment, not Division. A full strength VDV BMD equipped Regiment has less that 1500 soldiers assigned. Depending upon casualties incurred before the cease fire, and the standard of when a unit becomes combat ineffective due to casualties, perhaps half of that strength would remain to be able bodied POWs.
    The deployed brigades of 82nd should have an MP element along with the combat arms elements. Those MPs along with an augment of Infantry troops if needed should be sufficient to keep the POWs under guard. Not to mention MI personnel to interrogate the prisoners.
    If I remember my classes on processing prisoners under laws of war, they need to be safeguarded to the rear away from danger, but not out of the theater of operations. Once fighting has ended in Dhahran, a secure compound could be created by the engineers in short order in the area.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Carlos, I think your point on processing prisoners and bringing them away from the danger zone is correct, but admittedly I’m still brushing up on my POW rules. The 82nd has the MPs to guard the prisoners and can always get assistance from the airborne troops if need be. Figure after casualties and all, there will be at least 650-725 Soviet prisoners. Most will be able-bodied but there are going to be wounded to be cared for as well.


      1. Additional observation for you- and this has been rolling around in my brain since this subject about POWs came up and I mentioned the camps.

        The worker camps I mentioned could absolutely hold that many. Granted, memory is a funny thing (this is almost 30 years ago and my 20 year old mind wasn’t memorizing this kinda stuff) but I recall there being like three or four hundred of us all told staying on the camp- at least my camp. And there was a ton of room. Something like two or three camps were in use too… the Port Detail was not a small endeavor- every command sending their gear home had personnel in this detachment for movement of vehicles to re-painting point then to the pier for loading.

        So I figure there was at least a thousand of us spread out on several camps. Easily a thousand, 1200 or so.

        These worker camps had multi-room dorms (six to eight) with common room and bath, there was areas for sports (basketball of all things and volleyball) and a dining facility- two to three of them iirc. Heck, there was even a USO show (a rock concert!!) towards the end of my stay there.

        A dining facility could be converted into a medical ward for wounded that are not serious enough for a hospital or even a MASH unit set up either just inside a gate in tents or outside said gate.

        Again, these are 29 year old memories and not bad ones from my time there.

        In looking at a sat map of the area now, I couldn’t tell you where we were… as I am certain those complexes have either changed or been renovated/torn down by now.

        Would be a curious thing to find out if they still existed.

        Liked by 1 person

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